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Early Returns From Anthony Cowan Have To Encourage Terrapins

The sophomore guard has been excellent through two games this season

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Maryland vs Xavier Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big questions for Maryland this season centered around replacing Melo Trimble. The three-year starter was the main identity for the Terrapins, and to be successful this season, the Terrapins needed its talented sophomore class of Anthony Cowan, Keven Huerter and Justin Jackson to emerge.

So far, they seem up to the challenge.

Jackson could stand to be more efficient (7-19 from the field) and maybe Huerter could be more aggressive, but this is mostly nitpicky stuff.

The other member of this trio: Anthony Cowan might be the most impressive so far. He is a player that most represents what Maryland is trying to replace and he has been excellent.

Before we look at Cowan’s work on a deeper level, it is important to mention that Maryland’s first two opponents this season (Stony Brook and Maryland-Eastern Shore) are clearly not up to snuff. The real test comes Wednesday at home against Butler. Still, it is valuable to look at results so far and patterns that can lead to further Terrapin success down the road.

Inspired play from Cowan is a recipe for a lot of success for Maryland this season.

The 6-foot sophomore is averaging 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and two assists. He’s shot 60 percent from the field and nearly 93 percent from the foul line. Other than Carsen Edwards and Miles Bridges, I am not sure there has been a more impressive sophomore guard so far in the Big Ten.

Looking through why Cowan has been so impressive, a few things stand out. First, there seems to be a clear emphasis from him on trying to get to the line. Last season, Cowan averaged 4.7 attempts per game, but that average has been bumped up to 7 a game so far this season. Given his 92.9 percent free throw percentage, that’s guaranteed points for an offense that is only 48th according to KenPom.

Another impressive point from Cowan’s start has been his rebounding. For any player in college basketball, a 7.5 rebound a game average is excellent. But considering Cowan’s size and position, it makes his numbers all the more impressive.

This will be important for Maryland moving forward. Expect coach Mark Turgeon to play with a smaller lineups this season. The Terrapins traditionally have been one of the bigger programs in the Big Ten, but given their athleticism and make up this season, small-ball lineups could become more prevalent. Testudo Times has a good breakdown of this dynamic following Maryland’s win on Sunday.

Due to this, Maryland will need its guards to rebound. Cowan is athletic and scrappy enough to get in the middle of the scrum and grab tough defensive rebounds. Having that weapon is important to Turgeon, as it means he can play more offensively minded lineups for the other end of the floor.

The final impressive note from Cowan through the first two games, has been his defense. Cowan provides excellent on the ball defense for Maryland can be very disruptive in passing lanes. Cowan recorded three steals yesterday against Maryland-Eastern Shore. This should be a common occurrence this season. Cowan collected two ore more steals in 12 games last season. Expect that number to rise this year.

Overall, Maryland has to be more than pleased about Cowan’s performance so far. His development as a scorer, rebounder and defender make him one of the most versatile guards in the Big Ten. Much of a run to the NCAA tournament will depend on his play. So far, the results have been very promising.